Fashion and crypto: is this a new market niche? Fashion brands and the luxury industry are increasingly following the evolution of technology, entering the revolutionary world of cryptography and blockchain.
Fashion and crypto: use cases in the fashion and luxury industry
More and more fashion and luxury brands are exploring the explosive crypto market, considering how to adapt different blockchain and smart contract-based technologies in their own industry.
Thus, back in 2019, LVMH, the company that owns the Louis Vuitton brand among others, had created the Blockchain Aura consortium to track luxury goods from raw materials to the point of sale in order to provide consumers with product history and proof of authenticity.
A well-known case history was that of Hublot, a well-known Swiss watch brand, which to celebrate 10 years of Bitcoin in 2018, had launched a special watch that could only be purchased in BTC. Special edition of only 210 pieces, a number that recalls the limit of the maximum circulating BTC of 21 million. Not only that, the watch in question could only be paid for with BTC to be transferred using a code engraved on the edge of the watch, which cost around $25,000.
This year, Swiss watchmaker Hublot announced plans to start accepting cryptocurrency as payment, joining the leagues of fellow watchmakers such as Franck Muller and Norqain who have both made similar announcements in 2021 and 2020 respectively.
Venturing into the luxury travel sector, Fast Private Jet, which offers private flight services, made €2 million worth of transactions in crypto in 2020, accepting Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP). Even luxury travel agent Travala.com, for example, allows its customers to pay for flights, hotel stays and travel experiences using a wide selection of cryptocurrencies, including its own native AVA token.
Exhibitions, parades and NFTs
With the explosive bubble around Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), the fashion industry has also stepped in to explore it. And indeed, in addition to the use of blockchain as a supply chain that guarantees the authenticity of products and cryptocurrencies used as a revolutionary payment method, fashion brands have been evaluating the technology of collectable tokens.
Most notably, auction house Sotheby’s sold a painting by iconic artist Banksy titled “Love is in the Air” in May 2021 for $12.9 million, marking the first time a physical work of art has been sold by a major cryptocurrency auction house
#AuctionUpdate: Following a 14-minute bidding battle between 4 bidders, Banksy’s iconic protest image ‘Love is in the Air’ achieves $12.9 million. The sale marks the first time #cryptocurrency was accepted as a payment option for a physical artwork. #Banksy pic.twitter.com/uKIYeUu3IU
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) May 12, 2021
“Auction Update: Following a 14-minute bidding battle between 4 bidders, Banksy’s iconic protest image ‘Love is in the Air’ achieves $12.9 million. The sale marks the first time #cryptocurrency was accepted as a payment option for a physical artwork”.
Then, NFTs get mentioned by famous industry names. For example, Dolce & Gabbana’s collection of 9 NFTs, titled “Genesis” and inspired by Venice, saw record sales topping $5.65 million. Performer Chris Brown also created an NFT with sportswear brand NIKE which generated millions in NFT sales.
Another interesting case of combining fashion and crypto are the stylish art exhibitions that also feature NFTs. Dubai recently hosted the NFT BAZL, which showcased $4 million worth of diamonds, presented by Icecap, as well as artwork from a cohort of award-winning artists and Floyd Mayweather memorabilia.
In Lugano, during Lugano NFT Week, there was an exhibition entitled “The Future is Unwritten”, featuring works selected from the hundreds that make up the Poseidon NFT Fund collection, one of the largest and most conspicuous in Europe.
Fashion also enters the metaverse
Both Dolce & Gabbana and Nike seem to want to be active players in the metaverse, of which Meta (formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also a supporter.
D&G’s NFTs will be used to dress the future avatars of the metaverse with their brand. Not only that, at the beginning of the month, Nike’s top management filed an application to register the trademark “Nike just do it”, as well as their iconic Swoosh, in the metaverse.
Both D&G with its Genesis NFTs and Nike with its world-famous footwear models are embracing the possibility of entering a truly new, entirely digital marketplace.